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Georgia is still in a good spot with Georgia, but Auburn is now in the picture there going forward after the Sam Pittman move.

Broderick Jones: Georgia remains in a good spot, but Auburn is ‘in the race’ for 5-star OT

File this under the-what-I’m-hearing column in regard to Georgia and 5-star OT commitment Broderick Jones and his current commitment.

Jones is the second-highest rated of Georgia’s 15 public commitments for 2020. When Sam Pittman opted to go for his dream job at Arkansas, it did affect his recruitment.

It could even be termed as a crushing development. The Lithonia High two-sport star really wanted to play for Pittman. When that news broke, his fun-loving spirit just wasn’t the same. Jones was naturally at ease around Pittman from basically their first meeting.

DawgNation outlined the 2020 O-line recruiting class outlook in an extensive breakdown on Monday. But there was a definite unknown as to what Jones might do.

Auburn was coming hard. Still is. But Georgia was likely going to be able to hold off the Tigers with Pittman in Athens.

Before the news broke on Matt Luke being hired to replace Pittman at Georgia, we were able to check in on Jones and his process going forward by persons very familiar with his situation.

Since that news broke, we were able to get another good read on where things stand now after the move to hire Luke.

There are a few more knowns here to share, including when Luke might roll out a “Welcome Matt” of sorts as an introduction to getting to know him:

  • Kirby Smart and Jonas Jennings (on the road for UGA while Georgia was without an O-line coach) went to see Jones on Monday. It was a priority stop after the Pittman news broke.
  • Luke’s hiring does help Georgia’s cause to retain Jones.
  • He has not de-committed from Georgia and “probably” will not.
  • “He loves it there (at UGA) but this did put Auburn in the race,” that source said.
  • Luke has already reached out to Jones and his family. They are looking forward to a meeting.
  • That meeting could be in Athens or in Lithonia. His basketball schedule will affect that.
  • The formula here was described to DawgNation as “75 percent Georgia” and “25 percent unknown” in terms of how he is feeling now. Auburn was lumped in with that “unknown” element.
  • Jones was going to sign with Georgia in December during the early period but recently decided to back off that stance.
  • After the Pittman news, he does not plan to sign next week. That certainly still seems to be the case at this time.
  • Smart told Jones that he was going to have an O-line coach in place by Friday. The fact he moved so quickly to get Luke in place stood out to Jones.
  • Luke’s reputation is as a player’s coach. It meshes well with what Jones is looking for. He wants to play for a line coach who works his guys hard to bring out their full potential, but the way they play football does not affect the way he feels about his guys off the field. That’s important to him.

Georgia made a lot of sense because of Pittman, the way he related and coached his players and the way he developed players like Lithonia native Andrew Thomas. Pittman had him ready to play right away.

When Jones watched the Bulldogs play, he was always focused on the offensive linemen, including Thomas.

That said, Athens was always a big draw for Jones and his family based on location. It will be much easier to travel to see him play.

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Auburn and Gus Malzahn are definitely in the picture now in terms of the Broderick Jones decision. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Jones is actually very busy playing basketball right now. His Lithonia High team is ranked No. 1 in the Georgia High School Association’s Class 5A rankings at this time.

He is not a mid-year graduate so this gives him time to check out all his options and get a new feel for what UGA will now be like with Luke leading the offensive line room.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Jones has some uncommon all-around athletic ability for his size. He rates as a 5-star recruit and the nation’s No. 19 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings for 2020.

Jones has always seemed like he looks about 20 pounds less than his actual weight once he steps on the scale. That’s the way it has always been across two-plus years of watching him develop as a prospect.

It is believed Jones will at least take two official visits over the next two months. Those will be to both Auburn and UGA.

RELATED: How do the current commits on the Georgia O-line feel about the Matt Luke hire? 

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Broderick Jones is the highest-rated O-line commitment for Georgia in the class of 2020. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
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